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Steve Jobs introduces - The Macintosh

Apple and Steve Jobs made big news by introducing the 3G iPhone. Here's a look back at another Jobs introduction. Take a look at Steve Jobs introducing the Macintosh in 1984.

Apple and Steve Jobs made a huge splash by introducing the newest iPhone. Coinciding with that launch as well as our photo gallery on the Mac Classic, I found this video from YouTube. It shows a much MUCH younger Steve Jobs introducing the original Macintosh back in 1984.

Steve still has the same twinkle in his eye and impish grin, but the rest has changed. Gone today are the tuxedos and long hair. The venues are much larger, and the machines much more powerful. Even an iPod nano is more powerful than a 1984 Mac. One thing that hasn't seemed to change is the response that Steve can get out of a crowd.

The Mac itself doesn't look very impressive from a twenty-first century perspective, but compared to what else was available in 1984, it was far ahead of its time. It always struck me as strange that they didn't introduce color on the first few versions of the Mac. EGA graphics on the PC were just starting by 1984, and Apple had a good opportunity to really nail graphics even better. Chances are the CPU and graphics chips of the time were having a hard enough time pushing a black-and-white GUI, let alone one in color, as Windows 1.0 showed just a couple of years later.

3 comments
TroyW
TroyW

"It always struck me as strange that they didn???t introduce color on the first few versions of the Mac. EGA graphics on the PC were just starting by 1984, and Apple had a good opportunity to really nail graphics even better. Chances are the CPU and graphics chips of the time were having a hard enough time pushing a black-and-white GUI, let alone one in color, as Windows 1.0 showed just a couple of years later." Actually, the main reason they chose b/w instead of colour, was the amount of RAM. In 1984, RAM was prohibitively expensive, and the very first mac only had 128k, which wasn't really enough. Combine that with the fact that b/w graphics use a lot less RAM then colour (for each pixel on a b/w screen, you only need one bit, but for each pixel on a 16 colour screen you need 4 bits, so 4 times as much ram. Now, the mac had a 512x384 screen, so 196608 addressable pixels. With a b/w screen, that means it only required 196608 bits (aka 24k of expensive RAM) for the display, however with 16 colours, that would have blown out to 786432 bits (aka 96k of expensive RAM). The original mac was expensive enough, if it had been released with colour it would have required more RAM, and not even Apple would have been able to sell it - it would have been DOA, and everyone at Apple knew it.

John Sheesley - TechRepublic Pro
John Sheesley - TechRepublic Pro

Apple and Steve Jobs made news with the introduction of the 3G iPhone. In Classics Rock, I showed a demo that Steve did in 1984 for the original Macintosh. http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/classic-tech/?p=141 Exactly what is it with Jobs and his 'reality distortion field'? How do you think he consistently manages to get such responses from introducing products that are sometimes not all they seem to be?

John Sheesley - TechRepublic Pro
John Sheesley - TechRepublic Pro

True, I forgot to take into consideration the amount of memory in the original Mac and the memory overhead at the time. Even so, Apple didn't resolve the problem for a long time after memory became cheaper. They didn't even include color as an option in the "Fat Mac" which came with 512k. EGA Graphics (which came out about the same time as the original Mac) could handle 16 colors in as little as 64k, so after shipping the Fat Mac, Apple could have implemented equivalent color without impacting memory overhead that much. Here's a quote about the Mac Graphics from a Byte review in 1984: http://www.aresluna.org/attached/computerhistory/articles/macintoshbytereview "Some criticism has been made about the lack of a color-graphics capability. Frankly, I am unconvinced of its necessity. Most applications I have seen use color graphics as a substitute for detail, and the Mac can give you lots of detail. (An interesting footnote: the QuickDraw graphics routines in the Mac?s ROM do provide for color, although Apple has not announced any intentions for supporting such.) The Mac?s display does create a problem. Computer graphics are memory-intensive, once you start drawing pictures, you start using up lots of memory. The video display itself consumes about 22K bytes (or about one-sixth) of the total RAM. Any off-screen manipulation (windows) or information (fonts) chews up additional memory quickly."